Around 100 members of a National Police of Haiti (PNH) union demonstrated in the capital Port-au-Prince on Monday, February 17, to demand better working conditions and the right to form a trade union within the PNH. Peaceful rallies were reported in the Delmas and Pétionville areas, with officers marching through the streets. However, several carnival stands in Champ-de-Mars were also set on fire during the protests. According to media reports, the police officers have threatened to boycott the carnival festivities planned from Sunday, February 23, through Tuesday, February 25, if their demands are not met. Additional protests are also expected over the coming days.
A heightened security presence is expected near all protests. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Port-au-Prince's annual February carnival celebrations have been some of the largest Mardi Gras festivities in the Caribbean and North America.
Haiti has faced numerous demonstrations in recent months calling for greater government transparency after several public officials, including President Jovenel Moïse, were implicated in a scandal related to the alleged misuse of PetroCaribe funds. Protests have segmented society and exacerbated an already unstable political situation.
Individuals in Haiti are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations, anticipate localized disruptions to transportation and business, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
The security environment in Haiti remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.